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STRETCHING EXERCISES FOR SENIORS

Added 43 days ago. 11 April 2022

Stretching regularly can provide many benefits for seniors, such as increased flexibility and improved overall health. Read more to learn some stretches you could incorporate into your daily routines.

 
As we grow older, we can sometimes begin to lose flexibility and muscle strength. If you are finding it more difficult to exercise, then why not try some gentle stretching exercises for seniors? Seated stretches can even be done from the comfort of your chair. A little exercise is a great way to improve your flexibility and range of movement, and it also helps you to lead a healthy lifestyle.
What are the benefits of stretching for seniors?

Our bodies naturally become increasingly stiff as we get older, so adopting a regular stretching routine is a great way to improve your flexibility and range of motion. 

Physical activity that involves gentle, effective stretching will benefit your body in lots of ways:
  • Keeping muscles strong to support joints to aid mobility
  • Helping to maintain flexibility to reduce stiffness and joint pain
  • Relaxing any tension in muscles, as well as helping with overall relaxation
  • Improving balance and strength, helping to reduce the risk of falls
  • Improving circulation
What are the best morning stretches for seniors?

The morning is one of the best times to try a few stretches, helping to ease any muscle stiffness after your night's rest. Try incorporating a few simple stretches into your morning routine, and then continue to stretch at regular intervals throughout the day to really feel the benefits of stretching.

The best stretching exercises for seniors

There are many different stretching exercises for seniors to try. 

Stretches should be smooth and gentle movements so don't over stretch yourself, you should feel a stretch but no pain so if anything is painful, then stop. Breathing deeply when you stretch helps to maximise muscle relaxation and is also good for general relaxation. The best approach is to breathe in as deeply as possible through your nose and then slowly breathe back out through your mouth. Inhale and exhale…

Seated stretches are a great way to maintain flexibility while being a gentle workout. 

Let’s explore some simple stretches to get you started...
The stretches covered here can all be done sitting down, a dining chair would be ideal for this as you can sit up straight and have room to move around. Avoid any chairs with wheels as this could lead to slipping.  

Start with the warm-up and then you can mix and match the stretches below to form a routine that suits your needs: 

Warm-up
The warm-up is really important to get your muscles used to moving which helps to avoid the risk of injury. 

To get started sit in your chair and take a deep breath in through your nose, as you do this raise up both arms and then exhale and release your left arm down stretching over to the left with your right arm, at this point you should be feeling the stretch down your right-hand side. Hold for a few seconds. Repeat the same action on the other side.  


Neck Stretch
Many of us experience a stiff neck from time to time, which can become painful and lead to bad posture, stretching can help with this. 

In your chair put your head back very slowly and look up to the ceiling as far as you can and then slowly move your head back down to look at the floor. Repeat this 4 times. 

Next look ahead move your neck on one side down towards your shoulder (without lifting your shoulder up) and breathe in deeply and exhale. Hold this for 30 seconds, you should feel a stretch on the side of your neck. Then repeat this on the other side. Make sure you relax your shoulders while holding the stretch. 
Shoulder Stretch
Shoulders can hold a lot of tension, and by stretching regularly we can help to release this tension. 

First, loosen up by rolling your shoulders - bring your shoulders up towards your ears and then back down again, do this 4 times. 

Put your left hand on your left shoulder and lift up your elbow holding for a few seconds, you should feel a stretch in your triceps muscles (the muscles at the top back of your arm).

Next holding your elbow reach your arm across your body to feel the stretch in your shoulder. Repeat this on the other side.

Lower Back
Stretching out the lower back can help to reduce any back pain as well as helping to improve posture, overall mobility and flexibility.  

In your chair take a deep breath in while stretching your arms straight up above your head then exhale and slowly reach down as far as you can trying to touch your toes, hold for 2 seconds, then coming slowly back up. You should feel a lovely stretch in your lower back. Repeat this 3 times. 

Now have a go at stretching out your spine by putting your hands on the opposite shoulders, sit up straight, and then slowly rotate to the left then move back to the centre, then move slowly to the right. Repeat this 3 times. 

Hamstring Stretch
Hamstrings are the large muscle at the back of our thighs. Stretching your hamstrings, will help to increase the flexibility of your hips, which should make bending down and general everyday tasks a little easier.

Sitting up in your chair, put one leg out in front of yourself, keeping your outstretched leg straight and point your toes towards the ceiling. Lean forward moving your hand down your outstretched leg as far as it is comfortable to go, aiming to reach your toes.  Hold this for 30 seconds and then repeat on the other side. 

Hip Stretch
Knee raises can be used to strengthen the muscles around hip flexors which will also help with bending down.  

To stretch your hips, sitting in your chair raise up your left knee as far as is possible (using your hand to assist if needed) and then place back down, repeat this 10 times and then perform the same exercise on the other side. 

Remember it is important to build up to practicing your stretches gradually, and never do any movement that causes pain.

We hope you enjoy practicing some of these stretches and feel the benefits.

If you’d like to discover some more exercises,  Life Health Seniors is a good place to start, it has lots of advice with stretching activities to follow. Age UK also provide advice on exercise for older people and stretching exercises for seniors to try.

Wiltshire Farm Foods content does not replace the advice of any registered healthcare professional, and you should always seek the advice of your General Practitioner when following a new exercise regime. The guidelines in this article are for general healthy living purposes and you should always follow the advice of medical professionals. 
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